What not to do with your drone: Rookie pilots fined big bucks for breaking the rules

A DRONE pilot has been fined $900 for “hazardous flying” after getting too close to guests at a wedding in NSW.

The man is just one of three people recently penalised by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) for breaching done safety regulations. See a list of the rules below.

Another man was fined $1440 for flying in restricted airspace and within 30 metres of people in Sydney Harbour.


Meanwhile, children were put at risk at an Easter egg hunt in Canberra when a drone was flown at a height from which if the machine malfunctioned it would not have been able to clear the area.

The pilot flying that drone was also fined $900.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority released a smartphone app in May, the first of its kind in Australia, to help keep drone flyers out of trouble and their remotely piloted aircraft out of harm’s way.

The free app, available in Android, iOS and a web-based HTML5 version, highlights ‘no-drone zones’, such as airports, helicopter landing areas and other restricted zones, including emergency operations.

The app, free of advertising, also includes the drone safety rules and provides flyers with a 7-day weather forecast and a list of useful links.

CASA’s Director of Aviation Safety, Shane Carmody, said every person who owns a drone should own the app.

“The rules protect people, property, and aircraft from drones,” Mr Carmody said. If you fly a drone it is your responsibility to fly by the rules and stay safe at all times.”

“Every drone pilot should download CASA’s drone safety app, which will help them fly safely.”


  1. You must only fly one RPA at a time.
  2. You must only fly during the day and keep your remotely piloted aircract (RPA) within visual line of sight. This means being able to see the aircraft with your own eyes, rather than through first-person-view (FPV) at all times.
  3. You must not fly your RPA higher than 120 metres (400ft) above ground level (AGL).
  4. You must keep your RPA at least 30 metres away from other people, buildings, and vehicles.
  5. You must not fly your RPA over heavy populated areas like beaches, parks, and sporting venues.
  6. You must not fly your RPA over any area where, in the event of a loss of control or failure, you create an unreasonable hazard to the safety of people and property on the ground.
  7. You must not fly your RPA over or near an area affecting public safety or where emergency operations are underway (without prior approval). This could include situations such as a car crash, police operations, a fire and associated firefighting efforts, and search and rescue.
  8. You must not operate your RPA in a way that creates a hazard to another aircraft, person or property.
  9. You must respect personal privacy and not record or photograph people without their consent.

The penalties for breaching the drone safety rules and flying in restricted areas range from $900 to $9,000.

Not sure about where you can fly your drone? Download the Civil Aviation Safety Authority’s new free easy-to-use ‘Can I Fly There?smartphone app to see where you can and can not fly.